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Treating cardiovascular disease with integrative medicine


February’s arrival signals the start of American Heart Month, a 60-year effort to highlight the leading cause of death in the United States – cardiovascular disease. In this country, one person dies of heart disease every 33 seconds.

A recent U.S. population study estimates a significant increase in cardiovascular disease between 2025 and 2060, especially among younger generations. However, the good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that approximately 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes can be avoided.

With heart disease on the rise, it’s paramount that each of us consider what we can do to lower our risk and promote heart health. At Family Integrative Medicine, that approach revolves around identifying the root causes of your symptoms to optimize the body’s natural healing abilities. 

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions that impact the heart, your blood vessels and how those interconnected body parts function. 

The leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease is hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, which when not routinely measured or monitored, becomes a “silent killer” that can lead to stroke, kidney failure or heart diseases. Potential conditions include:

  • Angina
  • Aortic disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure

Other factors can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking, as well as family history and genetics. 

Integrative medicine and your heart

Integrative medicine aims first to obtain a deep understanding of your personal and family health history, as well as the physical, mental, social, spiritual and environmental impacts on your health.

When applied to your cardiovascular health, this holistic approach combines lifestyle changes and behavioral health tools with conventional cardiology treatments to create a personalized plan focused on heart disease prevention – or, in some cases, healing after a cardiac event.

Integrative medicine teams look at the root cause of a disease to lower your risk or prevent symptoms from occurring. This can include an in-depth look at your family history, genetics, health status and daily lifestyle, such as work-life balance, eating habits, exercise, sleep patterns, stressors and more. 

The interaction of these factors paints a unique picture of you that your integrative medicine team can use to create a customized, specific treatment plan with achievable goals and measurable results. Treatment options can include the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Advanced lab testing
  • Biofeedback (electronic monitoring)
  • Cardiac imaging
  • Cardio rehab
  • Herbal or natural supplements
  • Meditation
  • Mind-body therapies
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Personal exercise training program
  • Stress management
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga

Take control of your heart care

Before surgical or pharmaceutical interventions are necessary, take control of your heart care and health.

A recent Tulane University study found that walking 50 steps of stairs each day (the equivalent of five flights, and far fewer than the recommended 10,000 steps on your health apps) can cut the risk of heart disease by 20%.

Whatever your age, it’s never too late to take charge of your health. With an integrative medicine approach, you can expect patient-centered care that identifies the root cause of your symptoms to optimize the body’s natural healing abilities.

As always, consult with your physician prior to making any substantial lifestyle, health or nutritional changes.  

What is cardiovascular disease? Health Tips, American Heart Month, Family Integrative Medicine, What is integrative medicine? How does taking a holistic approach to health prevent heart disease? What are holistic treatment options? Are there any alternatives to heart health other than surgery or prescription drugs?


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